- Note to the reader: the controversy attending this topic is complex and unresolved, and relates to internal consistency of the Bible.
"Badger" skins (KJV) or "violet" skins (Douay) in the Old Testament were used for the outer covering of the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and various items used within the Tabernacle. See Numbers 4:5-15 (KJV and Douay). Recent 20th and 21st century biblical scholarship tends to support the more ancient interpretation of the covering material as being colored skins: hyacinth, indigo, dark blue -dyed skins or leather.
"Badgers' skins" is the King James Version (AV) translation of the Hebrew word תחשׁ taḥash, and of the Hebrew term (singular) עור תחשׁ uwr taḥash / 'or taḥash "skin taḥash", and of the plural form ערת תחשׁים uwr't taḥashim / 'orot taḥashim "skins taḥashim". The Hebrew word עור 'or / uwr (singular) / ערת 'orot (plural) means "skin/hide" / "skins/hides". The form וערת (simply the plural form ערת 'orot preceded by the letter vav ו ) is translated "and skins". Thus the term וערת תחשׁים means "and skins techashim".
The original meaning of תחשׁ taḥaš / taḥash / tachash / techash / t'khesh has been debated for centuries. According to Encyclopaedia Judaica the AV and JPS 1917 translation badger has no basis in fact. Translating ערת תחשׁים skins taḥashim as "badgers' skins" also presents a contradiction. The Book of Leviticus, chapter 11, forbids touching the carcasses of all animals that walk on paws, because they are טָמֵא tame unclean. This is no trivial matter, as God Himself is thus represented in the KJV as commanding the handling and use of skins He forbids the Israelites to touch, and as commanding them to cover the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant with unclean skins and then commanding them to remove from the camp all that is unclean so that nothing unclean will be seen by Him in the camp (Numbers 5:2-3; Deuteronomy 23:14). They are forbidden to defile the tabernacle, the sanctuary of the LORD (Leviticus 20:2-3; 21:10-12), and they are commanded to cover it with טָמֵא tame unclean/polluting/defiling "badgers' skins" (KJV). This is not accurate, and it presents a serious difficulty.
The ancient sources before 100 B.C. all interpreted the Hebrew term literally as skins colored/leather colored, that is, as denoting a kind of "colored skins/colored leather", interpreted as being hyacinth, blue, azure, hysginus, black, violet, purple skins, evidently a deep indigo.
Documented interpretations of taḥash as an animal begin around A.D. 300 with the Mishnah, Gemara, and Talmud, and with Rabbinical literature such as the Midrashim, continuing into the 19th and 20th centuries. There is currently no consensus on what animal the tachash could have been. Several 20th century versions render uwr taḥash as the skin of a sea mammal, as "sealskin", "sea cow hide", "porpoise skin", "dolphin skin", "narwhal skin", "dugong hide", "manatee hide". These proposals also violate the biblical context of Leviticus 11 which forbids touching the carcasses of all creatures in the waters, in the seas, in the rivers, that have not fins and scales, because they are unclean שִׁקַּץ sheqats abominations. Other versions have the skins of antelopes or the skins of goats, which are clean. The okapi, giraffe and rhinoceros have also been proposed. Many current versions render the Hebrew term by the generic interpretation "fine leather", adding a brief footnote stating that the Hebrew meaning is "uncertain" or "obscure". Recent 20th and 21st century Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant versions tend to support the most ancient interpretations of taḥash as a color.
The history of this word, its importance and the controversy attending it are briefly outlined below. Few biblical terms have afforded greater perplexity to critics and commentators than this one.
Hebrew text (Tanakh)
The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) contains 14 references to taḥash / taḥashim in various forms:
Hebrew—no vowels; Masoretic spelling:
וערת תחשׁים Terumah (Exodus) 25:5 ה וערת אילם מאדמים וערת תחשים, ועצי שטים.
ערת תחשׁים Terumah (Exodus) 26:14 יד ועשית מכסה לאהל, ערת אילם מאדמים, ומכסה ערת תחשים, מלמעלה.
וערת תחשׁים Terumah (Exodus) 35:7 ז וערת אילם מאדמים וערת תחשים, ועצי שטים.
וערת תחשׁים Terumah (Exodus) 35:23 כג וכל-איש אשר-נמצא אתו, תכלת וארגמן ותולעת שני—ושש ועזים; וערת אילם מאדמים וערת תחשים, הביאו.
ערת תחשׁים Terumah (Exodus) 36:19 יט ויעש מכסה לאהל, ערת אילם מאדמים, ומכסה ערת תחשים, מלמעלה.
ערת התחשׁים Terumah (Exodus) 39:34 לד ואת-מכסה עורת האילם, המאדמים, ואת-מכסה, ערת התחשים; ואת, פרכת המסך.
התחש .עור תחשׁ. Bamidbar (Numbers) 4:6-25 (verses 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 25)
ו ונתנו עליו, כסוי עור תחש, ופרשו בגד-כליל תכלת, מלמעלה; ושמו, בדיו.מועד. 6
ח ופרשו עליהם, בגד תולעת שני, וכסו אתו, במכסה עור תחש; ושמו, את-בדיו. 8
י ונתנו אתה ואת-כל-כליה, אל-מכסה עור תחש; ונתנו, על-המוט. 10
יא ועל מזבח הזהב, יפרשו בגד תכלת, וכסו אתו, במכסה עור תחש; ושמו, את-בדיו. 11
יב ולקחו את-כל-כלי השרת אשר ישרתו-בם בקדש, ונתנו אל-בגד תכלת, וכסו אותם, במכסה עור תחש; ונתנו, על-המוט. 12
יד ונתנו עליו את-כל-כליו אשר ישרתו עליו בהם, את-המחתת את-המזלגת ואת-היעים ואת-המזרקת—כל, כלי המזבח; ופרשו עליו, כסוי עור תחש--ושמו בדיו. 14
כה ונשאו את-יריעת המשכן, ואת-אהל מועד, מכסהו, ומכסה התחש אשר-עליו מלמעלה; ואת-מסך—פתח, אהל מועד. 25
תחשׁ Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 16:10 י ואלבישך רקמה, ואנעלך תחש; ואחבשך בשש, ואכסך משי.
Greek text (Septuagint)
The Greek-speaking rabbinical scholars who translated the Tanakh into the Septuagint, for the benefit of the Jewish Diaspora, interpreted עור תחשׁ skin tachash as עור תכלת skin tekhelet (blue), from a shared Semitic root, and translated וערת תחשׁים skins taḥashim as δέρματα υακίνθινα dermata huakinthina, "skins hyacinth" (jacinth, amethyst), "hyacinth skins", indigo-colored skins. Indigo is the color of sapphire stone, amethyst stone and Lapis lazuli. To the ancients it is the color of heaven and of the throne of God (Exodus 24:10; Ezekiel 1:26). Indigo was valued as a luxury product, and clothes dyed with indigo signified wealth, dignity and honor. It was so precious that it was called "blue gold". From the context, which linguists call the "semantic field", of the list of luxurious materials gathered and used for the Mishkan, Tabernacle, Dwelling, the skins for the outer covering of the Tabernacle might also be expected to be equally luxurious and/or exotic "for glory and for beauty" (Exodus 28:2, 40). The ancient peoples who did not have a specific word for the color indigo characterized Hebrew תכלת tekhelet and Greek υακινθίνω huakinthino as "blue", "azure", "black", "violet" or "purple". We know this from ancient versions of the Bible in Syriac, Latin, Arabic, Coptic, and from the paraphrastic Aramaic Targums, all before A.D. 300.
ΕΞΟΔΟΣ (Exodus) 25 verse 5 blue skins δέρματα
5 and rams' skins dyed red, and blue skins, and incorruptible wood,
5 καὶ δέρματα κριῶν ἠρυθροδανωμένα καὶ δέρματα ὑακίνθινα καὶ ξύλα ἄσηπτα
ΕΞΟΔΟΣ (Exodus) 26 verse 14 blue skins δέρματα υακίνθινα
14 And thou shalt make for a covering of the tabernacle rams' skins dyed red, and blue skins as coverings above.
14 καὶ ποιήσεις κατακάλυμμα τῇ σκηνῇ δέρματα κριῶν ἠρυθροδανωμένα, καὶ ἐπικαλύμματα δέρματα ὑακίνθινα ἐπάνωθεν.
ΕΞΟΔΟΣ (Exodus) 35 verses 7 and 23 skins dyed blue δέρματα υακίνθινα
7 and rams' skins dyed red, and skins [dyed] blue, and incorruptible wood,
7 καὶ δέρματα κριῶν ἠρυθροδανωμένα καὶ δέρματα ὑακίνθινα καὶ ξύλα ἄσηπτα.
23 And all as many as brought ornaments of gold to the Lord, and with whomsoever fine linen was found; and they brought skins [dyed] blue, and rams' skins dyed red.
23 καὶ παρ᾿ ᾧ εὑρέθη βύσσος καὶ δέρματα ὑακίνθινα καὶ δέρματα κριῶν ἠρυθροδανωμένα, ἤνεγκαν.
ΕΞΟΔΟΣ (Exodus) 36 verses 9, 12, 15, 29, 32, 37 blue ὑακίνθου (Hebrew תכלת tekhelet blue)—LXX verse 36:19 differs from Heb.
9 And he made the ephod of gold, and blue, and purple, and spun scarlet, and fine linen twined.
9 καὶ ἐποίησε τὴν ἐπωμίδα ἐκ χρυσίου καὶ ὑακίνθου καὶ πορφύρας καὶ κοκκίνου νενησμένου καὶ βύσσου κεκλωσμένης.
12 They made it of the same material according to the making of it, of gold, and blue, and purple, and spun scarlet, and fine linen twined, as the Lord commanded Moses;
12 ἐξ αὐτοῦ ἐποίησαν κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ ποίησιν ἐκ χρυσίου καὶ ὑακίνθου καὶ πορφύρας καὶ κοκκίνου διανενησμένου καὶ βύσσου κεκλωσμένης, καθὰ συνέταξε Κύριος τῷ Μωυσῇ.
15 And they made the oracle, a work woven with embroidery, according to the work of the ephod, of gold, and blue, and purple, and spun scarlet, and fine linen twined.
15 Καὶ ἐποίησαν λογεῖον, ἔργον ὑφαντὸν ποικιλίᾳ κατὰ τὸ ἔργον τῆς ἐπωμίδος ἐκ χρυσίου καὶ ὑακίνθου καὶ πορφύρας καὶ κοκκίνου διανενησμένου καὶ βύσσου κεκλωσμένης·
(19 and the third row, a ligure and agate and amethyst; 19 καὶ ὁ στίχος ὁ τρίτος λιγύριον καὶ ἀχάτης καὶ ἀμέθυστος·—amethystos)
29 And he fastened the oracle by the rings that were on it to the rings of the ephod, which were fastened with [a string] of blue, joined together with the woven work of the ephod; that the oracle should not be loosed from the ephod, as the Lord commanded Moses.
29 καὶ συνέσφιγξε τὸ λογεῖον ἀπὸ τῶν δακτυλίων τῶν ἐπ᾿ αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς δακτυλίους τῆς ἐπωμίδος, συνεχομένους ἐκ τῆς ὑακίνθου, συμπεπλεγμένους εἰς τὸ ὕφασμα τῆς ἐπωμίδος, ἵνα μὴ χαλᾶται τὸ λογεῖον ἀπὸ τῆς ἐπωμίδος, καθὰ συνέταξε Κύριος τῷ Μωυσῇ.
32 And they made on the border of the tunic below pomegranates as of a flowering pomegranate tree, of blue, and purple, and spun scarlet, and fine linen twined.
32 καὶ ἐποίησαν ἐπὶ τοῦ λώματος τοῦ ὑποδύτου κάτωθεν ὡς ἐξανθούσης ρόας ροΐσκους, ἐξ ὑακίνθου καὶ πορφύρας καὶ κοκκίνου νενησμένου καὶ βύσσου κεκλωσμένης
37 and their girdles of fine linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet spun, the work of an embroiderer, according as the Lord commanded Moses.
37 καὶ τὰς ζώνας αὐτῶν ἐκ βύσσου καὶ ὑακίνθου καὶ πορφύρας καὶ κοκκίνου νενησμένου, ἔργον ποικιλτοῦ, ὃν τρόπον συνέταξε Κύριος τῷ Μωυσῇ.
ΕΞΟΔΟΣ (Exodus) 39 verse 21 blue coverings καλύμματα ὑακίνθινα —(Exodus 39:34 KJV, RSV)
21 and all the vessels of the tabernacle and all its instruments: and the skins, even rams' skins dyed red, and the blue coverings, and the coverings of the other things, and the ins, and all the instruments for the works of the tabernacle of witness.
21 καὶ πάντα τὰ σκεύη τῆς σκηνῆς καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐργαλεῖα αυτῆς, καὶ τὰς διφθέρας δέρματα κριῶν ἠρυθροδανωμένα καὶ τὰ καλύμματα ὑακίνθινα καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν τὰ ἐπικαλύμματα καὶ τοὺς πασσάλους καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐργαλεῖα τὰ εἰς τὰ ἔργα τῆς σκηνῆς τοῦ μαρτυρίου·
ΑΡΙΘΜΟΙ (Numbers) 4 verses 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 25:
6 blue skin 8 blue covering of skin 10 blue skin cover 11 blue skin cover 12 blue skin covering 14 blue cover of skins 25 blue cover:
6 δέρμα υακίνθινον 8 δερματίνω υακινθίνω 10 δερμάτινον υακίνθινον 11 δερματίνω υακινθίνω 12 δερματίνω υακινθίνω 14 δερμάτινον υακίνθινον 25 υακίνθινον
6 And they shall put on it a cover, even a blue skin, and put on it above a garment all of blue, and shall put the staves through [the rings].
6 καὶ ἐπιθήσουσιν ἐπ' αὐτὸ κατακάλυμμα δέρμα ὑακίνθινον καὶ ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐπ' αὐτὴν ἱμάτιον ὅλον ὑακίνθινον ἄνωθεν καὶ διεμβαλοῦσι τοὺς ἀναφορεῖς.
8 And they shall put upon it a scarlet cloth, and they shall cover it with a blue covering of skin, and they shall put the staves into it.
8 καὶ ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐπ' αὐτὴν ἱμάτιον κόκκινον καὶ καλύψουσιν αὐτὴν καλύμματι δερματίνῳ ὑακινθίνῳ καὶ διεμβαλοῦσι δι' αὐτῆς τοὺς ἀναφορεῖς.
10 And they shall put it, and all its vessels, into a blue skin cover; and they shall put it on bearers.
10 καὶ ἐμβαλοῦσιν αὐτὴν καὶ πάντα τὰ σκεύη αὐτῆς εἰς κάλυμμα δερμάτινον ὑακίνθινον καὶ ἐπιθήσουσιν αὐτὴν ἐπ' ἀναφορέων.
11 And they shall put a blue cloth for a cover on the golden altar, and shall cover it with a blue skin cover, and put in its staves.
11 καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ χρυσοῦν ἐπικαλύψουσιν ἱμάτιον ὑακίνθινον καὶ καλύψουσιν αὐτὸ καλύμματι δερματίνῳ ὑακινθίνῳ καὶ διεμβαλοῦσι τοὺς ἀναφορεῖς αὐτοῦ.
12 And they shall take all the instruments of service, with which they minister in the sanctuary: and shall place them in a cloth of blue, and shall cover them with blue skin covering, and put them upon staves.
12 καὶ λήψονται πάντα τὰ σκεύη τὰ λειτουργικά, ὅσα λειτουργοῦσιν ἐν αὐτοῖς ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις, καὶ ἐμβαλοῦσιν εἰς ἱμάτιον ὑακίνθινον καὶ καλύψουσιν αὐτὰ καλύμματι δερματίνῳ ὑακινθίνῳ καὶ ἐπιθήσουσιν ἐπὶ ἀναφορεῖς.
14 And they shall put upon it all the vessels with which they minister upon it, and the fire-pans, and the flesh-hooks, and the cups, and the cover, and all the vessels of the altar; and they shall put on it a blue cover of skins, and shall put in its staves; and they shall take a purple cloth, and cover the laver and its foot, and they shall put it into a blue cover of skin, and put it on bars.
14 καὶ ἐπιθήσουσιν ἐπ' αὐτὸ πάντα τὰ σκεύη, ὅσοις λειτουργοῦσιν ἐπ' αὐτῷ ἐν αὐτοῖς, καὶ τὰ πυρεῖα καὶ τὰς κρεάγρας καὶ τὰς φιάλας καὶ τὸν καλυπτῆρα καὶ πάντα τὰ σκεύη τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου· καὶ ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐπ' αὐτὸ κάλυμμα δερμάτινον ὑακίνθινον, καὶ διεμβαλοῦσι τοὺς ἀναφορεῖς αὐτοῦ· καὶ λήψονται ἱμάτιον πορφυροῦν καὶ συγκαλύψουσι τὸν λουτῆρα καὶ τὴν βάσιν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐμβαλοῦσιν αὐτὰ εἰς κάλυμμα δερμάτινον ὑακίνθινον καὶ ἐπιθήσουσιν ἐπὶ ἀναφορεῖς.
25 And they shall bear the skins of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of witness, and its veil, and the blue cover that was on it above, and the cover of the door of the tabernacle of witness.
25 καὶ ἀρεῖ τὰς δέρρεις τῆς σκηνῆς καὶ τὴν σκηνὴν τοῦ μαρτυρίου καὶ τὸ κάλυμμα αὐτῆς καὶ τὸ κατακάλυμμα τὸ ὑακίνθινον τὸ ὂν ἐπ' αὐτῆς ἄνωθεν καὶ τὸ κάλυμμα τῆς θύρας τῆς σκηνῆς τοῦ μαρτυρίου
ΙΕΖΕΚΙΗΛ (Ezekiel) 16 verse 10 purple υάκινθον
10 And I clothed thee with embroidered [garments], and clothed thee beneath with purple, and girded thee with fine linen, and clothed thee with silk,
10 καὶ ἐνέδυσά σε ποικίλα καὶ ὑπέδυσά σε ὑάκινθον καὶ ἔζωσά σε βύσσῳ καὶ περιέβαλόν σε τριχάπτῳ
Hebrew תחשׁ takh'-ash tachash and תכלת tek-ay-leth tekhelet appear to share a common Semitic biliteral root: tekh תח—tekh תכ/תך.
Compare Strong's number 8476 תָּ֫חַשׁ (triliteral stem)–the Hebrew letter ח "kh" khayth Chayth Ḥeth.
Compare Strong's number 8504 תְּכֵ֫לֶת (quadriliteral stem)–the Hebrew letter כ "k / kh" caf / khaph chaph Kaph.
When the letter כ / כָּ kaph/khaph/chaph appears without the dagesh ("dot") in its center, as in תכלת tekhelet, then it represents a voiceless uvular fricative [χ], like the ch in German "Bach" and Scottish "loch" and the [χ] in "taḥas" / tachash". In modern Israeli Hebrew the sound value of כ Khaph/Chaph is the same as that of ח Khayth/Ḥeth, but many communities have differentiated between them.
- External audio links and text of Numbers 4 for sound comparison of teḥelet and taḥash
- The Letter Kaf / Khaf (sound) כ –Hebrew4Christians.com
- The Letter Chet / Ḥeth (sound) ח –Hebrew4Christians.com
- A Hebrew-English Bible According to the Masoretic Text and the JPS 1917 Edition text: Numbers 4 (text) –Mechon-Mamre.org
- Bamidbar-Numbers-Chapter 4 audio reading in Hebrew (mp3) –Mechon-Mamre.org
A large number of Semitic triliteral stems actually point to a biliteral base (idea/word), which may properly be termed a root (radix primaria, bilitteralis), since it forms the starting point for several triliteral modifications of the same fundamental idea (its semantic field). (The suggestion that all triliteral stems are derived from biliterals has not been definitely demonstrated or proved.) Very frequently, linguists have seen that the development of the root into a stem is effected by the addition of a strong consonant, especially a sibilant, either "liquid" or "gutteral". Further modifications of the same root are produced when a consonant of the same root, or the letter which has been added, changes by phonetic laws into a kindred letter: for example, beginning vav [ ו ] to [ י ], and ḥeth [ ח ] to [ כ ]. Usually such a change of sound is accompanied by a modification of meaning, as תח to תכ , and תח to תכ to תכלת—t-kḥ-l-t.The translation of the LXX rabbinical scholars, as approved by the assent of the Great Sanhedrin, with their interpretation of עור תחשׁ as עור תכלת and translated as δέρμα υακίνθινον (skin hyacinth, deep blue) is an historically documented demonstration of their scholarly understanding that a single shared biliteral root underlies the meaning of the two words תחשׁ and תכלת in the Torah, taḥash and teḥelet. The shared phonetic and lexicographical biliteral root form strongly indicates a related meaning of dyed/colored/processed (blue/indigo) skins.
"We attach great importance to the reading [text] of the Septuagint, because it was translated 280 years before Christ, by men who had every facility for ascertaining the real meaning of the Hebrew text, and their work was honoured by the cordial approbation of the Sanhedrim of Alexandria, at a time when Hebrew learning was at its highest state of perfection in that city."
- —John Grigg Hewlett, D.D. Bible difficulties explained (1860), p. 162 –book in the public domain
Latin text (Vulgate)
The Vulgate translation from the Tanakh renders tahash as ianthinus, violet, giving "violet skins" as the interpretation of skins tahashim in its varied forms, and ianthino, purple as the interpretation of tahash as the covering of the (woman's) feet in Ezekiel 16:10.
See Biblia Sacra Vulgate (Latin Vulgate) Ezekiel 16:10 "calciavi te ianthino".
10 et vestivi te discoloribus et calciavi te ianthino et cinxi te bysso et indui te subtilibus
Compare Biblia Sacra Vulgate (Latin Vulgate) Numbers 4:6-14 "ianthinarum pellium" and 25 "ianthinum"
6 et operient rursum velamine ianthinarum pellium extendentque desuper pallium totum hyacinthinum et inducent vectes
7 mensam quoque propositionis involvent hyacinthino pallio et ponent cum ea turibula et mortariola cyatos et crateras ad liba fundenda panes semper in ea erunt
8 extendentque desuper pallium coccineum quod rursum operient velamento ianthinarum pellium et inducent vectes
9 sument et pallium hyacinthinum quo operient candelabrum cum lucernis et forcipibus suis et emunctoriis et cunctis vasis olei quae ad concinnandas lucernas necessaria sunt
10 et super omnia ponent operimentum ianthinarum pellium et inducent vectes
11 nec non et altare aureum involvent hyacinthino vestimento et extendent desuper operimentum ianthinarum pellium inducentque vectes
12 omnia vasa quibus ministratur in sanctuario involvent hyacinthino pallio et extendent desuper operimentum ianthinarum pellium inducentque vectes
13 sed et altare mundabunt cinere et involvent illud purpureo vestimento
14 ponentque cum eo omnia vasa quibus in ministerio eius utuntur id est ignium receptacula fuscinulas ac tridentes uncinos et vatilla cuncta vasa altaris operient simul velamine ianthinarum pellium et inducent vectes
25 ut portent cortinas tabernaculi et tectum foederis operimentum aliud et super omnia velamen ianthinum tentoriumque quod pendet in introitu foederis tabernaculi
Biblia Sacra Vulgate Exodus 25:5 pelles ianthinas
5 et pelles arietum rubricatas pelles ianthinas et ligna setthim
Biblia Sacra Vulgate Exodus 26:14 ianthinis pellibus
14 facies et operimentum aliud tecto de pellibus arietum rubricatis et super hoc rursum aliud operimentum de ianthinis pellibus
Biblia Sacra Vulgate Exodus 35:7 pelles...ianthinas
7 et pelles arietum rubricatas et ianthinas
Biblia Sacra Vulgate Exodus 35:24 pelles...ianthinas
24 si quis habuit hyacinthum purpuram coccumque bis tinctum byssum et pilos caprarum pelles arietum rubricatas et ianthinas
Biblia Sacra Vulgate Exodus 36:19 pellibus ianthinis
19 fecit et opertorium tabernaculi de pellibus arietum rubricatis aliudque desuper velamentum de pellibus ianthinis
Biblia Sacra Vulgate Exodus 39:33 ianthinis pellibus
33 opertorium de pellibus arietum rubricatis et aliud operimentum de ianthinis pellibus
- —Biblia Sacra Vulgate text by the Public Domain
John Gill (Exposition of the Entire Bible) on Exodus 25:5 "badgers' skins" says the Septuagint version calls them hyacinth or blue skins, so that "they seem to be the ramskins dyed blue; and so Josephus seems to have understood it."
Antiquities 3:6:1 (§102) says the Israelites brought silver, and gold, and brass, and of the best sorts of wood, and sheepskins, some of them dyed of a blue color, and some of a scarlet color.
Antiquities 3:6:4 (§132) says the curtains over the outside of the tabernacle were made of skins which afforded covering and protection above the woven curtains in hot weather and when it rained; "and great was the surprise of those who viewed these curtains at a distance, for they seemed not at all to differ from the color of the sky."
Syriac, Arabic and Coptic versions
Adam Clarke (Clarke's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible) on Exodus 25:5 says the translation "badgers' skins" is rather violet-colored skins...the Septuagint and Vulgate have skins dyed a violet color, the Syriac version, azure, the Arabic version, black, the Coptic version, violet, the "modern Persic" version, ramskins, etc."
Syriac Bible (Peshitta): introduction
Old Testament Peshitta text: Exodus—scroll down to 25 (page 50)
view verse 5 — ܙܪܩܐ / ܓܘܢܐ ("blue/azure" / "blue/indigo")
Old Testament Peshitta text: Numbers—scroll down to 4 (page 9) — ܓܘܢܐ ("blue/azure")
5 وَجُلُودُ كِبَاشٍ مُحَمَّرَةٌ وَجُلُودُ تُخَسٍ وَخَشَبُ سَنْطٍ —("dark/black" تُخَسٍ )
"modern Persic version"—Persian Farsi text: Parallel English and Farsi
—Choose Book from drop down menu, select Exodus, and click GO
—click on English chapter 25 and click on Farsi chapter 25 فصل (separately):
5 و پوست قوچ سرخ شده و پوست خز و چوب شطیم،
The same etymological and cultural clues which point to a possible color reading also seemingly point to an unspecified animal type. From the context the word taḥash signifies some sort of skin, since it modifies the word for "skin" or "hide" עור uwr / 'or. Hence, some translators prefer rendering the apparently unusual or exotic skins tachashim by means of words which denote special, unusual or exotic animals from which the skins could have been harvested for the "sacred work". Others additionally speculate that the word originally had a commonly understood meaning not requiring any explanation when it was written in the scroll of the Torah, and that over time it was no longer used or explained and the meaning of the sound "תחשׁ" was lost through what linguists call "semantic change". Although post-exilic scholars among the Jews could read and understand pre-exilic Biblical Hebrew it had ceased to be the common spoken language of the Jews around the time of Ezra (Nehemiah 8:5-8; 13:23-25), a phenomenon linguists call "language death".
Various animals have been proposed by scholars through the centuries as the identity of "tachashim" from which skins tachashim were obtained: ermine, badger, ganet, keresh, unicorn, rhinoceros, a species of wild ram, antelope, okapi, giraffe, narwhal, sea cow or dugong, manatee, porpoise, seal, elephant seal, sheep, goat. Included is an enormous unknown one-horned desert animal of six colors whose single hide could be made into a finished seamless tent-curtain 30 cubits long and 4 cubits broad, 45 feet by 6 feet, 13.716 meters by 1.8288 meters, one cubit = 18 inches. A species of animal whose finished skins measured 30 cubits long 4 cubits broad would be the largest creature ever to walk the earth and possibly the second largest that ever existed, second only to the blue whale. To date there are no animals known to science, present or prehistoric, that are anywhere near that size. Given what is known of the physical maximum material load-bearing limit of bone structures, leg bones would have shattered under the weight of such an enormous beast. According to zoologists the maximum possible size for land mammals had been reached with the extinct species of hornless giant rhinoceros Paraceratherium, weight estimated in the range of 15 to 20 tonnes (33,000 to 44,000 lb) at maximum, and as low as 11 tonnes (24,000 lb) on average, height estimated as 6 m (20 ft) at the shoulders, length of neck estimated at 2 to 2.5 m (6.6 to 8.2 ft) long, maximum length of animal nose to rump 28.87 feet, 8.8 meters, 19.24794 cubits, less than two-thirds the length of one finished tachash curtain.
Because of the sound of the Arabic word تخس duchash, tukhesh, "dark ones / azure ones / dolphin", which is applied generally to marine animals only, as to seals, dolphins, dugongs, and perhaps sharks and dog-fish, some linguists have seen it as directly related to the Hebrew word תחשׁ. From this perceived relationship they have proposed that very large sea mammals found in and around the shores of the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba were the source of tahash skins, since the Bedouin have used the skins of such sea mammals as leather for tent-coverings and for shoes. This presents a contradiction within the context of the Bible. The Book of Leviticus, chapter 11, forbids touching the carcasses of "all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you."
The Torah appears to show that the Israelites had no need to obtain skins from animals on the shore or in the desert, but appears to show that they already had on hand as rich, luxurious treasures of beauty all the valuable skins needed for the Mishkan and its glory, and for their clothing and shoes, as part of the spoils of Egypt. —Exodus 35:4-29. Compare Exodus 3:21-22; 12:35-36; 25:2-8; Ezekiel 16:8-14.
Nathan ben Jehiel (circa A.D. 1035–1106) (the ʿArukh, a dictionary of Talmudic Aramaic and Hebrew) included tachash under the word "Taynun" (as a kind of midnight blue).
Avraham ben haRambam (A.D. 1186–1237) understood its meaning to be leather worked in such a manner as to come out dark and waterproof.
Rashi (Rashi's commentary on the Tanakh) sought to clarify the "simple" meaning of the biblical text "so that a bright child of five could understand it." He anticipated questions by simply providing answers in his commentary as directly as possible with minimal discussion, at times stating the answer with a single word. In his humility, he deferred to the opinion of scholars who disagreed with him: "this we read, but others say...". Variant readings of the biblical text [interpretations/translations] are cited and attributed to their sources, for direct comparison. This is sometimes simply shown by quoting them directly without comment, as, for example, at Yechezkel-Ezekiel-Chapter 16 (verse 10), where the word tachash has been interpreted by scholars before him as "hues" and "glory" and as "badger", and at Terumah-Exodus-Chapter 25 (verse 5) where the plural tachashim has been interpreted (Talmud) as an ephemeral creature that no longer exists. Rashi's commentary without any mitigating qualification also supports the Levitical prohibition against touching unclean animals.
- Terumah-Exodus-Chapter 25 –"this was a species of animal that existed only for a [short] time, and it had many hues" [color].
- Yechezkel-Ezekiel-Chapter 16 –"and I shod you with badger: [ Jonathan renders: ] And I put shoes of glory on your feet."
- Vayikra-Leviticus-Chapter 11 –v.27 "...any [animal] that walks on its paws is unclean for you. Anyone who touches their carcass will be unclean until evening." v.27 "on its paws: such as a dog, a bear, or a cat"–"are unclean for you: i.e. to touch".
- Vayikra-Leviticus-Chapter 5:2, 5, 13 –v.2 "Or if a person touches [anything unclean]: And after [consequently acquiring] this uncleanness, he eats holy things [namely sacrifices], or he enters the Sanctuary, [each of which] constitutes a sin which, if committed willfully, incurs the penalty of excision. Thus it is explained in Tractate Shevuoth (7a)."
This penalty of "excision" כָּרַת karath/kareth means to be "cut off/cut down" —see Leviticus 7:20, 25, 27; 17:4, 9-10, 14; 18:29; 19:8; 20:3, 5-6, 17-18; 22:3; 23:29; Numbers 9:13; 15:30-31; 19:13, 20.
Exodus 25:5 "and skins of wethers made red, and skins of jacinth, and wood of shittim (and red rams' skins, and blue skins, and shittim wood, that is, acacia wood)".
Numbers 4:6-14 jacinthine skins 6, 8, 10-12, 14
Numbers 4:25 veil of jacinth
Ezekiel 16:10 10 "And I clothed thee with clothes of diverse colours, and I shodded thee in jacinth, and I girded thee with bis, [or white silk]"
Martin Luther saw a phonetic similarity between Latin taxus, "a badger", German dachs, "a badger", and Hebrew taḥaš, although these languages are unrelated. Indo-European (includes Latin, German) languages and Afroasiatic (includes Hebrew) languages developed apart, and attempts over the past 300 years to demonstrate a direct interrelationship between them and to discover a common linguistic ancestral root language from which they could have diverged have not been successful. Seeing an apparently direct phonetic relationship between taxus, dachs, and taḥaš solely because of their similar sound, Luther interprets 'orot taḥashim, skins tachashim, as dachsfelle, "badgers' skins" (interpreting plural taḥashim as "badgers'"). But in Ezekiel 16:10 he interprets the single form of the word tachash as (feinem) Leder, (fine) "leather, skin" instead of "badger". Taḥash is not the normal Hebrew word for "skin/leather" in the Bible, עור uwr / 'or. As a modifier of the Hebrew word עור 'or / ערת 'orot, "skin/skins", the word תחשׁ taḥaš tachash translated as (fine) leather/skin presents us with "skins ערת of leather תחשׁים" (plural) and "leather עור of skin תחשׁ" (singular), or "skins תחשׁים skins ערת" (plural) and "skin תחשׁ skin עור" (singular): thus, according to Luther's rendering of each of these two words as signifying leather/skin/hide, ערת תחשׁים means "skins skins"/"leather leathers". It appears from the context of the Hebrew term ערת תחשׁים 'orot taḥashim that taḥash does not mean (fine) "skin/leather"; and it does not mean "badger". In choosing the badger as the meaning of tahashim, Luther's literalist phonetic word-for-word interpretive translation violates the biblical context of Leviticus 11 against touching the carcasses of "whatsoever goeth upon his paws...whoso toucheth their carcass shall be unclean until evening". The Luther Bibel 1545 represents God as commanding the use of unclean skins he has forbidden the Israelites to touch, a God inconsistent and contradictory.
Luther Bibel 1534, 1545:
2 Mose (Exodus) 25:5 'orot tahashim—here 'orot is translated as felle "skins" and tahashim as dachs "badgers'".
5 rötliche Widderfelle, Dachsfelle, Akazienholz,
3 Mose (Leviticus) 11:27-28 animals that walk on paws "Tatzen" are unclean "unrein".
27 Und alles, was auf Tatzen geht unter den Tieren, die auf vier Füßen gehen, soll euch unrein sein; wer ihr Aas anrührt, wird unrein sein bis auf den Abend. 28 Und wer ihr Aas trägt, soll seine Kleider waschen und unrein sein bis auf den Abend; denn solche sind euch unrein.
3 Mose (Leviticus) 5:2-6 and touching their carcass "Aas" is a sin "Sünde": the phrase he is unclean and has become guilty is "der ist unrein und hat sich verschuldet": the word for guilt/debt is "Schuld".
2 Oder wenn jemand etwas Unreines anrührt, es sei ein Aas eines unreinen Tieres oder Viehs oder Gewürms, und wüßte es nicht, der ist unrein und hat sich verschuldet. 3 Oder wenn er einen unreinen Menschen anrührt, in was für Unreinigkeit der Mensch unrein werden kann, und wüßte es nicht und wird's inne, der hat sich verschuldet. 4 Oder wenn jemand schwört, daß ihm aus dem Mund entfährt, Schaden oder Gutes zu tun (wie denn einem Menschen ein Schwur entfahren mag, ehe er's bedächte), und wird's inne, der hat sich an der einem verschuldet. 5 Wenn's nun geschieht, daß er sich an einem verschuldet und bekennt, daß er daran gesündigt hat, 6 so soll er für seine Schuld dieser seiner Sünde, die er getan hat, dem HERRN bringen von der Herde eine Schaf-oder Ziegenmutter zum Sündopfer, so soll ihm der Priester seine Sünden versöhnen.
Hesekiel (Ezekiel) 16:10 taḥash—here the word translated as "badgers" Dachs in 2 Mose 25:5 is translated as feinem Leder "fine leather".
10 und kleidete dich mit gestickten Kleidern und zog dir Schuhe von feinem Leder an; ich gab dir köstliche leinene Kleider und seidene Schleier
The English College (Douay-Rheims Bible Old Testament 1609–1610, revised 1750) compared the Septuagint rendering δέρματα υακίνθινα, dermata huakinthina, skins hyacinth, with the parallel Vulgate interpretation ianthinarum pellium, hyacinth skin, and with the Syriac and Arabic and Coptic versions, and rendered the plural Hebrew term ערת תחשׁים 'orot taḥashim as "violet skins". The single word תחשׁ taḥash, through the Septuagint υάκινθον huakinthon and the Vulgate ianthino, is rendered as "violet coloured":
Exodus 25:5 "And rams' skins dyed red, and violet skins, and setim wood"
Exodus 26:14 "Thou shalt make also another cover to the roof, of rams' skins dyed red; and over that again another cover of violet coloured skins."
Exodus 35:7 "And rams' skins dyed red, and violet coloured skins, and setim wood."
Exodus 35:23-24 "If any man had violet, and purple, and scarlet twice dyed, fine linen and goats' hair, rams' skins dyed red, and violet coloured skins."
Exodus 36:19 "He made also a cover for the tabernacle of rams' skins dyed red: and another cover over that of violet skins."
Exodus 39:33 "The cover of rams' skins dyed red, and the other cover of violet skins."
Numbers 4:6-14 "And shall cover it again with a cover of violet skins...And they shall spread over it a cloth of scarlet, which again they shall cover with a covering of violet skins...And over all they shall put a cover of violet skins...and shall spread over it a cover of violet skins...All the vessels wherewith they minister in the sanctuary, they shall wrap up in a cloth of violet, and shall spread over it a cover of violet skins...They shall cover all the vessels of the altar together with a covering of violet skins, and shall put in the bars."
Ezechiel 16:10 "And I clothed thee with embroidery, and shod thee with violet coloured shoes: and I girded thee about with fine linen, and clothed thee with fine garments."
Authorized King James Version
Leviticus 5:2 "if a soul touch any unclean thing...he also shall be unclean and guilty"
Leviticus 5:5-6 "he shall confess that he hath sinned"
Leviticus 11:5-8 "and their carcase shall ye not touch, they are unclean to you"
Leviticus 11:24-28 "and whatsoever goeth upon his paws...those are unclean unto you"
Leviticus 11:43-44 "Ye shall not make yourselves abominable...neither shall ye make yourselves unclean...neither shall ye defile yourselves"
Leviticus 22 "Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the LORD."
Numbers 4:15-20 "but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die"
Deuteronomy 23:14 "For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee."
The Committee appointed by James I of England that was tasked with the translation of the Bible was made of men who had read the Bible in Hebrew and Greek and Latin and knew these passages. Yet they chose to translate tachashim as unclean badgers "that goeth upon paws" whose carcasses the Israelites were forbidden to touch.
Exodus 25:1-8 "Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering...rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins"
Exodus 26:14 "and a covering above of badgers' skins"
Exodus 35:7 "and rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins"
Exodus 35:23 "and red skins of rams, and badger skins"
Exodus 36:19 "and a covering of badgers' skins above that"
Exodus 39:34 "And the covering of rams' skins dyed red, and the covering of badgers' skins"
Numbers 4:6-25 "a covering of badgers' skins...the covering of badgers' skins"
Ezekiel 16:10 "and shod thee with badgers' skin"
Readers of the KJV saw a grave difficulty here because of the apparently great inconsistency that the holy ark of the covenant and the tabernacle should be constantly covered with skins of unclean animals which made unclean anyone who touched them.
Protestant commentaries 17th through 19th centuries
Over the past 400 years linguists have become increasingly aware that the whole of the biblical context must be taken into account when interpreting and translating difficult and obscure words in the biblical text. If serious mistranslations and erroneous readings are to be avoided, which give occasion for scorn to those detractors who despise the Bible—interpretive readings which "add to" or "take away from" the meaning of the words of the text in the "original tongues" (Rev. 22:18-19)—then translators of the Bible must take into account constraints that include context, the rules of grammar of both source and target languages, their writing conventions, their particular idioms, and how these have changed over time. A knowledgeable and competent translator/interpreter cannot ignore the historical-linguistic-cultural-religious milieu of the Bible. A word-for-word translation does not take into account context, grammar, conventions, and idioms.
Beginning in the 17th century, the same century in which it was published, Protestant scholars, orientalists, hebraists and linguists began pointing out defects in the Authorized King James Version. One of these was the translation of 'orot tachashim as 'badgers' skins, because it plainly violates the biblical context. In its early days, the KJV was heavily criticized; but in time, with official pressure, it won the field and became "the Bible" for English-reading people—a position it held for almost 400 years. The following commentaries discuss the faulty KJV translation of the Hebrew tahash as "badger". Some of them while discussing the defect attempt to defend this version of the Bible.
These sources have become popularly recognized standard reference works for Protestant American Christians.
Bochart, Samuel B. (1663) Hierozoicon: Sive Bipartitum Opus Animalibus Sacrae Scripturae, De Avibus, Serpentibus, Insectis, Aquaticus & Fabulosis Animalibus 2:387. (Latin text: "Hierozoicon [Great Book of Life]: A Two-Part Work on Animals of Sacred Scripture, Birds, Snakes, Insects, Aquatic creatures, and Fabulous Animals")
- From all the ancient sources Bochart demonstrates conclusively that tachash is no kind of animal, but the color hysginus (dark blue).
Matthew Henry. Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible (1692)
- Exodus 25 "Every thing that was provided was very rich and fine, and the best of the sort"
- Exodus 26:7-14 "...badgers' skins, so we translate it, but it should rather seem to have been some strong sort of leather (but very fine)...the outside of the tabernacle was coarse and rough"
- "it is much questionable whether the same creature is meant we call the badger"
- "badgers' skins, (rather violet-coloured skins)...Badgers' skins — ערת תחשים oroth techashim. Few terms have afforded greater perplexity to critics and commentators than this. Bochart has exhausted the subject, and seems to have proved that no kind of animal is here intended, but a color. None of the ancient versions acknowledge an animal of any kind except the Chaldee, which seems to think the badger is intended, and from it we have borrowed our translation of the word. The Septuagint and Vulgate have skins dyed a violet color; the Syriac, azure; the Arabic, black; the Coptic, violet; the modern Persic, ram-skins, etc. The color contended for by Bochart is the hysginus, which is a very deep blue."
Eduard Rüppell, zoologist, was quite taken with opinions current in the 19th century based on the Arabic word تخس duchash, tukhesh, similar in sound to תחשׁ, which some linguists saw as directly related.
- While travelling the Middle East around the Red Sea and the Arabian Peninsula, Rüppell observed a variety of dugong which he subsequently designated taxonomically as Halicore tabernaculi (1843) according to his view that the skin of this animal was certainly used as the outer covering of the tabernacle of the Hebrews, because the Bedouin harvested its skin for tent-curtains and for shoes and called it tukhesh, duchash. His taxonomic designation Halicore tabernaculi did not last long (1843-1847) and has since been recombined several times, more recently as Dugong dugon (1963-1998). The 1843 published scientific nomen Halicore tabernaculi, expressing as it did the personal opinion of a professional zoologist, Eduard Rüppell, was soon discarded by the scientific community, but it has nevertheless persuaded many to this day that science has established that the dugong was indeed the animal whose skins were used to cover the tabernacle. It has no fins or scales. According to the Bible this creature is an abomination to the Jews (loathsome/abhorrent/detestible/filthy/disgusting) (Leviticus 11:10-12).
- "It would involve a great inconsistency, that the ark of the covenant, which was considered so holy, that no human hand could touch it with impunity, except the hands of those who had been consecrated to God, that it should constantly be covered with the skins of unclean animals...Therefore the coverings of purple, or blue, which our translators have called 'badgers' skins', were of a material that was accounted pure, and could not impart any impurity to those who prepared them, or to those whose office it was to adjust them amidst the vicissitudes of the camp of Israel."
- "Badgers' skins - Rather, leather, probably of a sky-blue color, formed from the skins of the תחשׁ tachash (a general name for marine animals), which was well adapted as a protection against the weather."
- "badgers' skins—The badger was an unclean animal, and is not a native of the East—rather some kind of fish, of the leather of which sandals are made in the East." (reference made to Exodus 39:34 and Ezekiel 16:10.)
- "What that animal may be, is, as I have already mentioned, conjectural."
- "Our translators of the seventeenth century, in a great many instances, misunderstood the sense."
Jonas H. Bondi. Dem hebräisch-phönizischen Sprachzweige angehorige Lehnwörter in Hieroglyphischen und Hieratischen Texten (1886) Ægyptiaca i. ff (German text: "Hebrew-Phoenician Loanwords in Hieroglyphic and Hieratic Texts, Egyptiaca i. ff")
- Wilhelm Gesenius (pub. posthumously, Leipzig 1905) cites Bondi (1886), who adduces the Egyptian root t-ch-s and makes the expression 'or tahash mean "soft-dressed skin".
- "The ancient interpreters understand by it a color given to leather, e.g. Sept. ὑακίνθινα: so Aquila, Symmachus, and the Syriac, which are followed by Bochart (Hieroz. 2:387), Rosenmüller (Schol. ad V. T., Ex 25:5; Eze 16:10), Bynaeus (De Calceis Hebraeorum, lib. 1, ch. 3), Scheuchzer (Phys. Sacr. in Ex 25:5), and others."
- "There is much obscurity as to the meaning of the word tachash, rendered "badger" in the Authorized Version, (Exodus 25:5; 35:7) etc. The ancient versions seem nearly all agreed that it denotes not an animal but a color, either black or sky-blue."
- "Our translators seem to have been misled by the similarity in sound of the Hebrew tachash and the Latin taxus, 'a badger'."
- "The Septuagint rendering would mean purple or blue skins, which however is not favored by Talmudic writers or by modern grammarians, who incline to believe that tachash is the name of an animal. The rendering, "badger," is favored by the Talmudic writers and by the possible etymological connection of the word with the Latin taxus and the German Dachs."
James Strong–The King James Version
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (1890), under BADGERS', lists the 14 occurrences of the word, and links it to Strong's number 8476 in its Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary of the Old Testament, where it says the word tachash, tak'-ash is probably of foreign derivation, a (clean) animal with fur; probably a species of antelope—"badger".
Young's Literal Translation
Young's Literal Translation (1862–1898) translates 'orot taḥashim as "badgers' skins".
Exodus 25:1-9 " and rams' skins made red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,"
Schofield Reference Bible (1917)
Schofield's notes do not discuss the meaning of "badgers' skins" in the context of the Bible.
20th century translations: sea mammal hides, goatskins and leather
- American Standard Version ASV (1901): "sealskins" –abomination/loathsome/abhorrent/detestible/filthy/disgusting
- Jewish Publication Society of America Version JPS (1917): "sealskins" –abomination/loathsome/abhorrent/detestible/filthy/disgusting
- Bible in Basic English BBE (1949-1965): "leather"
- Revised Standard Version RSV (1952-2000): "goatskins"
- New World Translation NWT (1961): "sealskins" –abomination/loathsome/abhorrent/detestible/filthy/disgusting
- New International Version NIV (1978): "sea cow hides" –abomination/loathsome/abhorrent/detestible/filthy/disgusting
- New Jewish Publication Society translation JPS Tanakh (1985): "dolphin, or sea cow" –abomination/loathsome/abhorrent/detestible/filthy/disgusting
- New Jerusalem Bible NJB (1985): "fine leather"
- Revised English Bible REB (1989): "dugong hides" –abomination/loathsome/abhorrent/detestible/filthy/disgusting
- New Revised Standard Version NRSV (1989-2005): "fine leather"
- New American Bible NAB (1991-2005): "tahash" (the typographic form ḥ is not used)
- The Living Torah Aryeh Kaplan (1991): "blue processed skins"
- God's Word Translation GW (1995): "fine leather"
From a linguistic standpoint alone, the translation "badgers' skins" is doubtful, since the word תחשׁ taḥaš taḥash is not the normal Hebrew word for badger, שָׁפָן shaphan. So also "goatskins" fails on the grounds that the word used is not the normal word for goat, either שָׂעִר sa'iyr he-goat or עֵז ez she-goat/kid. Sea mammals fail on the grounds that removing the skins of any of them violates the biblical context which prohibits touching the carcasses of creatures that have not fins and scales: "they are an abomination" (Lev. 11:9-10).
Commentary: violations of the biblical context
"A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text." Donald A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies.Study Bible footnotes, along with published articles, Bible dictionaries, commentaries, encyclopedias, and books on the Bible, and a multitude of internet online blogs and pages, which strongly support the translation of ערת תחשׁים as badgers' skins or as the skins of any kind of sea mammal, often omit the fact that within the context of the Bible these creatures are classified as unclean, defiling שִׁקַּץ sheqats abominations, as loathsome, abhorrent, detestible, filthy and disgusting for the people of Israel. Those that do mention it offer various speculative rationales, debates and discussions to explain why in their opinion God would command the Israelites to cover the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant and the sacred vessels for worship with skins of unclean animals and abominations they are forbidden to touch, skins and hides that according to the word of the LORD defile any Israelites who touch them. Many of them assert that the prohibitions in Leviticus 11 are dietary rules only (Lev. 11:2, 11:46-47), and declare that touching and wearing skins and leather of unclean animals is permitted as long as their flesh is not eaten. These commentaries say that touching the carcass of these animals is only a minor offense which did not require an atoning sacrifice, and that it applied only to kohanim (priests) and applied to the laity only during the three feasts of Passover/Unleavened Bread, Weeks/Pentecost, and Booths/Tabernacles (Deut. 16). And some cite the Talmud as their authority, for example, Tractate Rosh Hashana 16b, and the Sifra, Torath Kohanim 11:74, and Rashi's commentary, providing us with an example of what the prophet Jeremiah said,
"How can you say, 'We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us'? But behold, the false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie"(Jeremiah 8:8).They omit any reference to that part of Leviticus which decrees that wilfully touching the carcasses of unclean animals (which must be done to harvest their skins) is a sin, which even Rashi's commentary confirms. No mention is made by them of the law in the Torah which says: "Ye shall not make yourselves abominable...neither shall ye make yourselves unclean...neither shall ye defile yourselves" (Leviticus 11:43-44) and that anyone who wilfully does this will be cut off. Some commentaries on the Old Testament supporting badgers' skins and sea mammals' skins as the covering of the tabernacle cite the New Testament example of Saint Paul working with Simon the tanner (Acts 9:43; 10:6, 32), as if both of them were examples of Jews wilfully working with the skins of non-kosher beasts. Some cite Pliny's Natural History 2:56, which says that [pagan] temples had roofs of sealskin, as if this applied to the Israelites under the Law of Moses, and cite Eduard Rüppell's short-lived taxonomic designation of the dugong as Halicore tabernaculi "dugong of the tabernacle" as an additional support for their opinion. Jesus himself commented on the practice of constantly seeking pretexts for making exceptions to the Torah:
"You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition!" (Mark 7:9 RSV).
Advocates of the King James Only movement are fully persuaded that the translators of the King James Version of the Bible always chose the correct reading [interpretation] of the biblical text, under the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit Himself, and that therefore the translation badgers' skins is the most accurate possible English translation of the Hebrew ערת תחשׁים and עור תחשׁ and תחשׁ . They declare without reservation that the King James Bible is the divinely preserved, infallible Word of God, and that it is the only and final authority on all matters of faith and morals and practice for the whole of the English-speaking world.
- –See the Preface to the King James Version of 1611.
"...wee affirme and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set foorth by men of our profession (for wee have seene none of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God..."
- —from the Preface to the King James Version of 1611: The Translators to the Reader. (boldface emphasis added)
See Logical fallacy.
Lack of scholarly consensus
There is clearly no certain consensus among Bible students and scholars on what species of animal could have been the source of richly hued tachash skins. Many translators have chosen instead to render "taḥash" and "skins taḥashim" by the generic "fine leather", including Ezekiel 16:10. This suits the context in every passage as a compromise. It lacks precision of exactitude in meaning, and does not adequately represent the original understanding of those biblical scholars and rabbis who were closest to the time the scriptures were written and for whom the ancient Hebrew and Greek were living languages.
21st century translations
More recent Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant researchers since 2000 have interpreted tachash as a color in accord with the ancient sources who see tachash skins as dark, nearly black, indigo, violet, purple, azure, blue, beaded (sheep? ram?) skins or leather.
- The Anchor Bible. Exodus 19-40, Volume 2A (2006): Exodus 25:5 and commentary. (Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) Yale University Press ISBN 978-0300139396 "blue beaded skins"
- The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today's World (2008) Thomas Nelson ISBN 978-0718003593
The English text is from the New King James Version NKJV.
- New English Translation of the Septuagint NETS (2009) Oxford University Press "blue leather" –online version.
- The CEB Study Bible with Apocrypha (2013). pub. Common English Bible ISBN 978-1609260293. Exodus 25:5 "beaded leather"
- See complete list of all 14 Bible references under Hebrew text.
- Encyclopaedia Judaica 2nd Edition Volume 19:435. TAḤASH.
- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary page 161. Badger Skins
- John Grigg Hewlett, D.D. Bible difficulties explained. pages 159-163.
- Clarke's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible. Exodus 25:5
- Aryeh Kaplan The Living Torah. Exodus 25:5 footnote
- "indigo". From a shared Semitic root. See The shared Semitic root: tachash as tekhelet (blue).
- Traditional sources:
- Louis Ginzberg The Legends of the Jews Volume III Chapter III The Altar
- See 20th century translations
- See Hebrew Lexicon online Strong's number 8262 שִׁקַּץ sheqats abomination loathsome, abhorrent, detestible, filthy, disgusting.
- Natan Slifkin. Sacred Monsters: Mysterious and Mythological Creatures of Scripture, Talmud and Midrash. pages 41–79.
- The NRSV, for example, reads "fine leather" with a note stating that the meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain. Some (for example the TEV) have proposed the simpler rendering "leather", noting the similarity of the Hebrew word t-ḥ-s and the Egyptian word for leather t-ch-s (Jonas H. Bondi) —Source: Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. "Badger skins" page 161.
See Exodus 25:5 English translations at biblegateway.com–this is only a partial listing:
Common English Bible CEB (2011) beaded leather
Complete Jewish Bible CJB (1998) fine leather
Contemporary English Version CEV (1995) fine leather
Easy-to-Read Version (1987) fine leather
Expanded Bible EXB (2011) fine leather
GOD'S WORD Translation GW (1995) fine leather
Lexham English Bible LEB (2010) fine leather
Names of God Bible NOG (2011) fine leather
New Century Version NCV (1987) fine leather
New English Translation NET (2005) fine leather
New International Version NIV, NIVUK (1978) "another type of durable leather"
New Revised Standard Version NRSV, NRSVA (Anglisized) (1989) fine leather
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (Anglisized) (1995) fine leather
- See 21st century translations
- See The Samaritan Pentateuch and Modern Criticism: Introduction by Rev. James Orr, D.D. 1911. London: James Nisbet & Co., Limited and The Samaritan Pentateuch: An Introduction to Its Origin, History, and Significance for Biblical Studies by Robert T. Anderson and Terry Giles. 2012 Society of Biblical Literature
- Colleen Kriger & Graham Connah. Cloth in West African History. page 120
- Exodus 36:19 in the Hebrew text "A covering for the tent was made of rams' skins dyed red, and above that, a covering of tahash skins" (NAB) is not found in the Greek text, which omits verses 10-33 and continues verse 34 as verse 18 (36:18). See Brenton text at Exodus 36 studybible.info/Brenton "OMITTED"—compare multiple translations of Exodus 36:19 from the Hebrew
- Gesenius' Thesaurus Linguae Hebraeae. תכלת .תחשׁ.
See Steinberg, David (2010) History of the Ancient and Modern Hebrew Language.
See Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (1909), Wilhelm Gesenius, edited and enlarged by Emil Kautzsch, translated by Arthur Ernest Cowley. §30. Stems and Roots: Biliteral, Triliteral, and Quadriliteral.
See Strong's number 8496 תֹּך toke from the same base as 8432 תָּ֫וֶך taw'-vek and 8430 תּ֫וֹחַ to'-akh both from the same unused (Semitic biliteral) root—see numbers 8496, 8433, 8432, 8431 and 8430 attesting the same base and root.
- Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar. Etymology, or the Parts of Speech. §30. Stems and Roots: Biliteral, Triliteral, and Quadriliteral.
- See Ancient Versions: Aramaic (Targums), Syriac, Coptic, Greek, Latin, Vulgate
- Vulgate verse ennumeration differs slightly from the Masoretic Text / KJV ennumeration (verses 35:24 and 39:33 Vulg. = MT 35:23 and 39:34)
- See Antiquities of the Jews, Book Three, Chapter Six (Ant. 3:6:1—3:6:4).
Text online at biblestudytools.com and at sacred-texts.com. (scroll down to Chapter 3)
- View actual Coptic font text available at Der Pentateuch koptisch, edited by Paul de Lagarde (German/Coptic edition only) —scroll down to page 186 "Exodus 24,10—25:5"
- Three sources:
- Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud), Shabbat 2:3. The Talmud of the Land of Israel, Volume 11: Shabbat, edited by Jacob Neusner.
- "semantic change". See:
- Rice University: Words in English: Meaning of Words: Semantic change
- Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction, 5th edition, Chapter 7: Semantic change, 1
- Chapter 35: Semantic change. Willem B. Hollmann. pages 525–527
- Semantic Change: sources Traugott, Elizabeth Closs and Richard B. Dasher 2002. Regularity in Semantic Change. Cambridge: University Press;
Stockwell, Robert and Donka Minkova 2001. English words, history and structure. Cambridge: University Press;
Hughes, Geoffrey 2000. A history of English words. Oxford: Blackwell;
Harley, Heidi 2003. English words. A linguistic introduction. Oxford: Blackwell; Malkiel, Yakov 1993. Etymology. Cambridge: University Press.
- Multiple sources attesting תחשׁ / תחשׁים as a Loanword:
- Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, Hebrew number 8476 תחשׁ "probably of foreign derivation".
- BDB page 1065 † I תחשׁ Assyrian tahsu, dusu, Egyptian ṯḥś, Arabic تخس duchash, tukhesh.
- Anchor Bible Series: Anchor Bible Dictionary "TAHASH"; The Anchor Bible, Exodus 19-40, Volume 2A: Professor William H. C. Propp (1998-2006), page 374, while taking תחשׁ taḥaš as a seeming cognate of Akkadian dusu - tuhsia "goat/sheep leather [dyed and tanned the color of dušu-stone (yellow-orange to red, brown)]", Hurrian tusiwe, Sumerian DUH.SI.A, the consensus of a majority of linguists, he is rather persuaded a better rendering of the Hebrew ערת תחשׁים is "blue beaded skins", from the tour-de-force demonstration by Dr. Stephanie Dalley, 2000, Journal of Semitic Studies 45:1-19 "Faience and Beadwork, Hebrew tahas, Akkadian dusu".
- "language death". See:
- Killing a Dead Language: A Case against Emphasizing Vowel Pointing when Teaching Biblical Hebrew, William P. Griffin. "strictly speaking, classical biblical Hebrew is a dead language"
- Language death, David Crystal. 2000. Cambridge University Press
- BBC Radio 4: Today: "The death of language?" Tom Colls. Monday 19 October 2009
- The Rosetta Project: The Rosetta Blog: New Estimates on Rate of Language Loss. Posted on Thursday, March 28 2013 by Karin Wiecha
- ISBE International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. "Badger"
- The blue whale averages 98 feet in length, 29.807 meters, 65.3333 cubits, 1 cubit = 18 inches.
- Donald R. Prothero (2013). Rhinoceros Giants: The Palaeobiology of Indricotheres. Indiana University Press. 160 pages. ISBN 978-025308190. pages 107–121.
- BDB Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon. page 1065. I תחשׁ
- "abomination unto you" —Strong's number 8262 שִׁקַּץ sheqats abomination —see also Strong's number 8441 תּוֹעֵבָה toebah
- Rav Kook, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Likkutai Sichos–Sichos In English, Vol. 34, Kislev–Adar, 5747. Jan. 21, 1990. D. The Rashi: "...In the case of techashim...the people had techashim skins...."
- Chaim Miller. Article "Rashi's Method of Biblical Commentary" —Chabad.ORG
- Soncino Babylonian Talmud, Seder Nezikin, Tractate Shevuoth, Folio 7a —scroll down to Folio 7a. "penalty of Kareth" (excision).
- "jacinth" in Strong's Concordance is listed as 2 occurances, both in the KJV New Testament Book of The Revelation 9:17 and 21:20.
- Martin Luther. D. Martin Luthers Werke, Kritische Gesamtausgabe. Die Deutsche Bible. 2 Mose (Exodus)
- Adams and Mallory, Bomhard, Levin:
- Adams, Douglas Q. and James Mallory. 2006. The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199296682
- Bomhard, Allan R. 2008. Reconstructing Proto-Nostratic: Comparative Phonology, Morphology, and Vocabulary, 2 volumes. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-9004168534
- Levin, Saul. 1995. Semitic and Indo-European, Volume 1: The Principal Etymologies, With Observations on Afro-Asiatic. Published by John Benjamins Publishing Co, 1995. ISBN 13: 9789027236326
- Levin, Saul. 2002. Semitic and Indo-European, Volume 2: Comparative Morphology, Syntax and Phonetics. John Benjamins Publishing Company. ISBN 1-55619-583-4
- Changes in the King James Version
- Isaac H. Hall. "Defects of the King James Version". Introduction The Revised New Testament and History of Revision.
- Carson, Donald A., Ph.D. Exegetical Fallacies, Nov. 30, 1983, 2nd edition Mar. 1, 1996. Baker Publishing Group. 160 pages. ISBN 978-0801020865
- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. "Bible Translations", Jack P. Lewis and Charles W. Draper. p. 214.
- "rich and fine" and "coarse and rough". It is an undeniable fact that ordinary badgers' skins have never been a luxury item, being neither "very rich and fine" nor "very fine" but "coarse and rough" as Matthew Henry himself observes in his commentary, the fur or hair being commercially used primarily for shaving brushes and paint brushes, and the small finished skins without the fur or hair are not suitable for either tent-coverings or shoes, as Matthew George Easton observes Easton's Bible Dictionary 1897. Compare Ezekiel 16:11-14. Badgers' skins are not renowned for "comeliness" and "beauty".
- Three sources:
- Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Eduard Rüppell"
- The Probert Encyclopedia of Nature. "Dugong". "A variety [of dugong] was discovered in the Red Sea by Ruppell, and called Halicore tabernaculi."
- The Paleobiology Database: —when the page comes up, at "You must enter a taxon name" move cursor to "Full search"—menu will appear; select "classifications of taxa in groups" and click—when "Taxonomic classification search form" appears enter Halicore tabernaculi in the top search field (ignore the rest), click [Show classification]—page will display "Halicore tabernaculi Rüppell 1843"—click highlighted link "Halicore tabernaculi"–page will show list "Dugong dugon Illiger 1811: Classification of Trichechus dugon (Halicore tabernaculi Ruppell/Rupell 1843):
the listing of the zoological taxonomic nomenclature of the dugong on that page is here rearranged in chronological order:
- Trichechus dugung Erxleben 1777 (this nomenclature lasted 22 years)
- Dugong indicus Lacépède 1799 (this nomenclature lasted 12 years)
- Dugong dugong Illiger 1811 (this nomenclature lasted 21 years)
- Halicore hemprichii and Halicore lottum Ehrenberg 1832 (this nomenclature lasted 11 years)
- Halicore tabernaculi Rüppell 1843 (4 years)
- Halicore australis Owen 1847 (this nomenclature lasted 51 years)
- Halicore cetacea Heuglin, recombined as Halicore dugung Trouessart 1898 (this nomenclature lasted 65 years)
- It was recombined as "Dugong dugon" Scheffer and Rice 1963
also Husar 1978, Domning 1994, 1996, and Rice 1998 (this nomenclature has lasted for 35 years+).
- See Pope Pius XII encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu "Inspired by the Divine Spirit" on biblical translation
- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. "Badger skins". page 161.
- Eight examples:
- Chabad.ORG —Rashi's commentary Vayikra-Leviticus-Chapter 11,
- Terumah: Tachash Skins in the Tabernacle, Rabbi Chaim Morrison,
- Can I wear pigskin shoes? By Shmuel Kogan,
- Jewish Treats: Juicy Bits of Judaism, Daily: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2012 —Picking Up Pigskin,
- Jews in Green: Jews serving proudly:—News: Pigskin Boots, Posted by Lt Joe Friedman on 03 Aug 2005,
- Judaism 101. Treatment of Animals. Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim צער בעלי החיים: Cruelty to Animals © Copyright 5756-5771 (1995-2011), Tracey R Rich,
- Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY: Insight, Volume 2 it-2 pp. 883-884 Sealskin. Copyright © 2014 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania,
- KJV Today: "Badgers' skin" or another type of leather in Exodus 25:5 et al.?
—compare multiple commentaries on: Leviticus 5:2; 11:8 and 11:27
- Babylonian Talmud, Seder Mo'ed, Tractate Rosh Hashana, Folio 16b —scroll down to page 40
- Sifra (Aramaic סִפְרָא, "book" or "The Book"), a midrash halakhah from the school of R. Akiva on the Book of Leviticus.
See Jewish Encyclopedia: Sifra;
Encyclopaedia Judaica Vol 18 San-Sol 18:560-562 SIFRA;
See Sifra Hebrew text, ed. I. H. Weiss 1862 Vienna.
- See: Exodus 31:14; Leviticus 7:19, 21; 10:10; 11:43-44; 18:20, 24, 30; 20:25; 21:4, 11; 22:8; Numbers 5:3; 6:7; 19:13, 20; 35:33-34; Deuteronomy 23:14; 27:26.
- see Leviticus 5:2-6, 5:17-19; Numbers 15:29-31; 19:20.
- previously cited in the 19th century: McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (1887) B: badger; Adam Clarke's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible (1831) Exodus 25
- Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY: Insight, Volume 2 it-2 pp. 883-884 Sealskin.
- Mark 7:9-13; Matthew 15:1-9; 23:16-22
- James D. Price. King James Onlyism: A New Sect. Introduction: The King James Only Doctrine Is a New Idea.
- "beaded". See Anchor Bible Series: Anchor Bible Dictionary "TAHASH"; The Anchor Bible, Exodus 19-40, Volume 2A: Professor William H. C. Propp (1998-2006), page 374. While taking תחשׁ taḥaš as a seeming cognate of Akkadian dusu - tuhsia (yellow-orange, red, brown leather), Hurrian tusiwe, Sumerian DUH.SI.A, Professor Propp is rather persuaded a better rendering of the Hebrew ערת תחשׁים is "blue beaded skins", from the tour-de-force demonstration of Dr. Stephanie Dalley, 2000, Journal of Semitic Studies 45:1-19 "Faience and Beadwork, Hebrew tahas, Akkadian dusu".
- Exodus 19-40: A New Translation With Introduction and Commentary by William H. C. Propp. 2006 Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0385246934, 978-0300139396.
- The NABRE (2006) version Exodus 25:5 footnote reads "25:5 Tahash. perhaps a kind of specially finished skin or leather. The Greek and Latin versions took it for the color hyacinth." The NABRE text, however, translates וערת תחשׁים and ערת תחשׁים as tahash skins in Exodus 25, 26, 35, 36, 39, as does The New American Bible NAB 1970 version; but it translates עור תחשׁ as yellow-orange skin in Numbers 4, which the NAB 1970 version translated as "violet skins"; and it translates תחשׁ as leather sandals in Ezekiel 16, which the NAB 1970 version translated as "sandals of fine leather". The interpretation and rendering of עור תחשׁ as "yellow-orange skin" (Numbers 4) in a published translation of the biblical text, taking תחשׁ taḥaš as a seeming cognate of Akkadian dusu - tuhsia "goat/sheep leather [dyed and tanned the color of dušu-stone (yellow-orange to red, brown)]", Hurrian tusiwe, Sumerian DUH.SI.A (BDB תחשׁ p. 1065; William H. C. Propp, 2006, page 374), currently represents a minority opinion, a substantially significant but relatively lesser opinion, among biblical authorities, who tend toward the more generic interpretation "fine leather" in every occurance of the forms of תחשׁ.
- BDB–Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon (1906) A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, with an appendix containing the Biblical Aramaic, written by Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs, based on the lexicon of William Gesenius as translated by Edward Robinson, 1196 pages. ISBN 978-1565632066 page 1065:
- (the BDB abbreviations are fully spelled out here)
- † I תחשׁ. noun. masculine. taḥaš, a kind of leather or skin, perhaps the animal yielding it (probably the dugong, compare Arabic تخس)dolphin, William Gesenius Thesaurus Linguae Hebraeae 1200. A Dillman--V.Ryssel Exodus 25:5, G. E. Post Hastings Dictionary of the Bible: Badger; Assyrian taϦšu (Friedrich Delitzsch, R. Baentach: Erech xvi.) for which Delitzsch Prolegomena 77 ff. Assyriaches Handwörterbuch conjectures the meaning sheep(skin); J. H. Bondi (Hebrew Lehn-wörter in Hieroglyphic-schen...Texten) Egyptiaca I ff. compares Egyptian ṯḥś, leather; see summary of views by M'Lean-Shipley Encyclopedia Britannica 9th edition: BADGERS SKINS; absolute 'ת Numbers 4:6+, תחשׁ verse 8; plural תחשׁים Exodus 25:5+; leather used for (woman's) sandals Ezekiel 16:10; elsewhere for cover of tabernacle Numbers 4:25 תחשׁ (ת)תחשׁים Exodus 25:5; 26:14; 35:7,23; 36:19; 39:34; (all Priestly Code or Narrative).
- Berman, Samuel A. (1966) Midrash Tanchuma — Yelammedenu: An English Translation of Genesis and Exodus by Samuel A. Berman. Chapter 6. This is the offering...and rams' skins dyed red, and seal skins (Exodus 25:3). page 564. ISBN 978-0881254006
- Bochart, Samuel Boutesteyn (1663). Hierozoicon: Sive Bipartitum Opus Animalibus Sacrae Scripturae, De Avibus, Serpentibus, Insectis, Aquaticus & Fabulosis Animalibus 1712. Publisher Lugdunum Batavorum. OCLC number: 165972142. Database: WorldCat. Available as ebook.
- Bondi, Jonas H. 1886 Dem hebräisch-phönizischen Sprachzweige angehorige Lehnwörter in Hieroglyphischen und Hieratischen Texten (German Edition) Publisher: Breitkopf & Härtel. ISBN 978-1167490170: Ægyptiaca I ff.
- Brenton, Sir Lancelot Charles Lee. LXX: The English translation of the Septuagint, originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851. ASIN: B00GXPL4QK
- Carson, Donald A., Ph.D. Exegetical Fallacies, Nov. 30, 1983, 2nd edition Mar. 1, 1996. Baker Publishing Group. 160 pages. ISBN 978-0801020865
- Chullin 59b. Soncino Babylonian Talmud, Seder Kodashim, Tractate Chullin, Folio 59b
- Clarke, Adam. Adam Clarke's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible, Vol. 1. Genesis through Deuteronomy (1831): Exodus 25:5. ASIN: B001M57R31
- Easton, Matthew George. Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897), Thomas Nelson and Sons—"B: Badger". ISBN 978-0933186590
- Encyclopaedia Judaica, Second Edition, Volume 19: SOM-TN, 2007, ed. Fred Skolnik, Keter Publishing House, Ltd., page 435a: "TAḤASH". ISBN 978-0028659282
- English-Greek Parallel Septuagint. Ellopes.net (dermata huakinthina) hyacinth skins.
- Gesenius, William. Thesaurus Linguae Hebraeae (1829, edited posthumously, Leipzig, 1853), —Guillemi, Gesenii Thesaurus Philologicus Criticus Linguae Hebraeae Et Chaldaeae Veteris Testamenti, Emil Roediger and Friedrich Heinrich Wilhelm Gesenius. ISBN 978-1246572803
- Gesenius, William. Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (1909), edited and enlarged by Emil Kautzsch, translated by Arthur Ernest Cowley. Second Part: Etymology, or the Parts of Speech. §30. Stems and Roots: Biliteral, Triliteral, and Quadriliteral. 2nd Edition, Feb. 22, 1922, Oxford University Press. 614 pages. ISBN 978-0198154068
- Gill, John. John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible (1746–63): Exodus 25. ASIN: 80054E93D2
- Henry, Matthew (1662-1714). Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible, 6 vol. Hendrickson Pub. 5500 pages. ASIN: B004NG7UNW, ISBN 978-1598564365
- Ginzberg, Louis. (1909) The Legends of the Jews: Translated from the German Manuscript by Paul Radin. Volume III, Chapter III: Bible Times and Characters from the Exodus to the Death of Moses: The Altar —Text available online philologos.org and sacred-texts.com
- Hall, Isaac H. Defects of the King James Version. The Revised New Testament and History of Revision, giving a literal reprint of the Authorized English Edition of the Revised New Testament, with a brief history of the origin and transmission of the New Testament Scriptures, and of its many versions and revisions that have been made, also a complete history of this last great combined movement of the best scholarship of the world; with reasons for the effort; advantages gained; sketches of the eminent men engaged upon it, etc., etc. prepared under the direction of Professor Isaac H. Hall, LL.B; Ph.D. Philadelphia: Hubbard Brothers; Atlanta: C. R. Blackall & Co; New York: A. I. Bancroft & Co., 1881. ISBN 978-1140501350
- Herbermann, Charles B. (1913) Catholic Encyclopedia, Fifteen Volumes and Index, plus supple: "Nicolas of Lyra". ASIN: B00HASB6AE
- Hewlett, John Grigg, D.D. (1860) Bible difficulties explained, London: Henry J. Tresidder, 17, Ave Maria Lane; Edinburgh: Elliot; Glasgow: Glass & Duncan; Dublin: P. Dixon Hardy. pages 159–163. ISBN 978-0559757136
- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, General editors, Chad Owen Brand, Ph.D., Charles W. Draper, Ph.D., Archie W. England, Ph.D., 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. ISBN 978-0-8054-2836-0. page 161: "Badger Skins"
- Hyatt, J. Philip, Ph.D. The Heritage of Biblical Faith: An Aid to Reading the Bible, 1964 by The Bethany Press, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 64-13404
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 5 Vol. 1915, 1939. ed. James Orr, John Neulsen, Edgar Mullins, Morris Evans, and Melvin Grove. Wm B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. "B: Badger" ASIN: B000CR18DW
- Kaplan, Aryeh. The Living Torah. (1981) Exodus 25:5 footnote: "blue processed skins". ISBN 978-0940118355
- Kriger, Colleen & Connah, Graham (2005) Cloth in West African History, Rowman Altamira. page 120. ISBN 0-7591-0422-0
- Luther, Martin. D. Martin Luthers Werke, Kritische Gesamtausgabe. Die Deutsche Bibel. 12 vols. Wiemar: Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1906-61. 2 Mose (Exodus) 3 Mose (Leviticus) Hesekiel (Ezekiel). ASIN: B009N1FVO6, ISBN 978-1293082720
- McClintock, John & Strong, James (1880, 1887) McClintock & Strong's Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, prepared by the Rev. John M'Clintock, D.D. and James Strong, S.T.D.. 10 volumes with two supplemental volumes. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, Franklin Square. 1887. Supplement Vol. 1, page 614 "Badger". ASIN B000VZQZOY
- Midrash Tanchuma 6
- Miller, Chaim, article, Rashi's Method of Biblical Commentary, and the Rebbe's approach to Rashi's works —Chabad.ORG "so that a bright child of five could understand".
- The New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE), USCCB (Apr. 17, 2012): Exodus 25:5 footnote: "25:5. Tahash: perhaps a kind of specially finished leather. The Greek and Latin versions took it for the color hyacinth." ISBN 978-0062084739
- The New Jerome Biblical Commentary 1999, 1990, 1968. Editor, Raymond E. Brown. Prentice Hall, New Jersey. Exodus 25:5. ISBN 0-13-614934-0
- Price, James D. King James Onlyism: A New Sect, Copyright (2006) by James D. Price, Publisher. 658 pages. ISBN 978-0979114700
- Propp, William H. C. The Anchor Bible Exodus 19-40, Vol. 2A, Nov. 2006. p. 374.
Exodus 19-40 (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries), Dec. 12, 2006. 865 pages. (Exodus 25). ISBN 978-0300139396
- Prothero, Donald R. (2013). Rhinoceros Giants: The Palaeobiology of Indricotheres. Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-00819-0.
- Rabin, Chaim. A Short History of the Hebrew Language by Chaim Rabin, Professor of Hebrew Language, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Published by the Publishing Department of the Jewish Agency. Orot publication edited by Ada Zemach 1963, 1973. ASIN: B00176GZVH8
- Rashi's commentary Terumah-Exodus-Chapter 25:5 "this was a species of animal that existed only for a [short] time."
Rashi's commentary Vayikra-Leviticus-Chapter 5:2 and 11 "guilty", "sin", "walks on paws; such as a dog, a bear, or a cat"
Rashi's commentary Yechezkel-Ezekiel-Chapter 16:10 "badger", "glory"
- Schneerson, Menachem Mendel (1902-1994) Likkutai Sichos. –Sichos In English, Vol. 34, Shabbos Parshas Terumah 6th Day of Adar, 5747. Published and copyright by Sichos In English. (718) 778-5436. info@SichosInEnglish.org FAX (718) 735-4139. (accessible online) –Sichos In English, Vol. 34, Kislev-Adar, 5747 by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. Jan. 21, 1990. 192 pages. [kindle edition]. ASIN: B00307S2Z0
- Shabbath 28ab. Soncino Babylonian Talmud, Seder Mo'ed, Tractate Shabbath, Folio 28 a, PART b.
- Slifkin, Natan. Sacred Monsters: Mysterious and Mythological Creatures of Scripture, Talmud and Midrash, Chapter One: Unicorns of Different Colors, 2007 Zoo Torah http://www.zootorah.com. Distributed by Yashar Books/Lambda Publishers, 3709 18th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11218, Tel: (718) 972-5449 http://www.yasharbooks.com pp. 55–72 "The Tachash". ISBN 978-965-229-5811
- Singer, Isadore (1906) The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People From Earliest Times, first edition, 1901–1906, Ktav Publishing House. "Bochart, Samuel". ASIN: B00069XNQ1
- Steinberg, David History of the Ancient and Modern Hebrew Language (2010)
- Strong, James, S.T.D., LL.D. (1822-1894) Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, 1890, by James Strong, Madison, N.J. Fully Updated and Unabridged, with words of Jesus in red letter and key-word comparison of selected words and phrases in the King James Version with five leading translations, Forty-fifth Printing 1989, World Bible Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-529-06679-3 (regular)
- Wood, J. G. Wood's Bible Animals, U.S. edition 1875. Philadelphia: Bradley, Garretson & Co.
- The Works of Josephus, Translated by William Whiston, A.M. New Updated Edition, Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, c. 1987 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 3, Chapter 6, sections 1, 4 (102, 132). ISBN 0-913573-86-8
- Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud), Shabbat 2:3. The Talmud of the Land of Israel, Volume 11: Shabbat, edited by Jacob Neusner, University of Chicago Press, May 28, 1991, 513 pages. ISBN 978-0226576701
- Babylonian Talmud, Seder Mo'ed, Tractate Shabbath. Folio 28a PARTb (Shab. 28ab) —halakhah.com
- Babylonian Talmud, Seder Kodashim, Tractate Chullin Folio 59b (Ḥullin 59b) —from Talmud–Mas. Chullin 2a scroll down to Folio 59b —halakhah.com
- Encyclopedia Judaica, 2nd ed.–access. –Article SIFRA —select Click here to access Encyclopaedia Judaica then select Table of Contents select [Choose a volume] from the drop down menu select San-Sol click it and return to [Choose a volume] which shows San-Sol click it and from the drop down menu select Sid-Sikarikon click it and select Sifra 18:560-562 and click the 18:560-562 the article will appear –SIFRA (Aram. סִפְרָא )</big> —bjeindy.org
- Encyclopedia Judaica, 2nd ed.–access. –Article TAḤASH —select Click here to access Encyclopaedia Judaica then select Table of Contents select [Choose a volume] from the drop down menu select Som-Tn, click it and return to [Choose a volume] which shows Som-Tn click it and from the drop down menu select Tabriz-Talmudclick it and select Taḥash 19:435 and click the 19:435 the article will appear –TAḤASH (Heb. תַּחַשׁ ) —bjeindy.org
- Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (1909), Second Part: Etymology, or the Parts of Speech §30. Stems and Roots, Biliteral, Triliteral, and Quadriliteral —wikisource.org
- Gesenius's Thesaurus PhiloCriticoVT Latin Ed. 1835. LexHebChaldOTS. Tregelles. 1857. 4 vols. —archive.org
- Ginzberg, Louis. The Legends of the Jews (1909), Volume III, Chapter III: The Materials for the Construction of the Tabernacle, The Altar –scroll down to The Altar, fourth paragraph –Legends of the Jews index at Internet Sacred Text Archive. —sacred-texts.com
- Hall, Isaac. Defects of the King James Version, Isaac H. Hall, LL.B; Ph.D., ed. —bible-researcher.com
- Holman Bible Dictionary: Badger Skins —studylight.org
- Kaplan, Aryeh. The Living Torah: Exodus 25:5 footnote blue processed skins —bible.ort.org
- Midrash Tanchuma – Yelammedenu: An English Translation of Genesis and Exodus by Samuel A. Berman –scroll down to page 564: "Chapter 6. This is the offering...and rams' skins dyed red, and seal skins (Exodus 5:23)". —googlebooks.com
- Miller, Chaim. "Rashi's Method of Biblical Commentary" —chabad.org
- NETBible: Tahash —Bible.org: tahash
- The New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) Exodus 25:5 footnote [25:5] Tahash —United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) usccb.org
- Price, James D. King James Onlyism: A New Sect. Introduction: The King James Only Doctrine Is a New Idea —SG: Truth
- Rabin, Chaim. A Short History of the Hebrew Language, pages 35–36 —adath-shalom.ca
- Septuagint (LXX) English-Greek parallel Septuagint —ellopos.net
- Slifkin, Natan. Sacred Monsters: Mysterious and Mythological Creatures of Scripture, Talmud and Midrash, pages 41–79 —googlebooks.com
- Steinberg, David. History of the Ancient and Modern Hebrew Language —adath-shalom.ca
- Strong's numbers (search by number) —apostolic-churches.net
- Strong's numbers with Brown-Driver-Briggs BDB —bibleapps.com:
8504 tekheleth, 8496 tok, 8476 tachash, 8433 towkechah, 8432 tavek, 8431 tocheleth, 8430 toach
- tachash. Strong's number 8476 tachash —biblehub.com
- Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud). The Talmud of the Land of Israel, Volume 11: Shabbat, edited by Jacob Neusner, page 98 —googlebooks.com
online discussions of Tachash
- What is the translation philosophy for tachash skins in Exodus?
- My Jewish Learning: Midrash Tanchuma VI—And the Loveliest of All was the Unicorn, Rabbi Avi Weinstein
- Ask the Rabbi, JewishAnswers.org Skin of the Tachash —Rabbi Yochai Robkin
- KJV Today: "Badgers' skin"? or another type of leather in Exodus 25:5 et al? —"the KJV does not translate this unclean animal as 'badgers'."
Bing online searches
This article was realized and completed 23:50 hrs. 28 October 2014 the Solemnity of the Martyrdom + of Simon and Jude, Apostles.